Social and economic problems encountered by women with disabilities in the informal sector: a case study of Kinondoni District

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University of Dar es Salaam
The topic of this study is Social and Economic Problems encountered by women with disabilities in the Informal sector: A case study of Kinondoni district. Throughout my stay in Dar es Salaam ie, since 1990, I have come across many people with disabilities. By looking at their difficult conditions of life, and being a woman with disability myself, I developed keen interest in this study. This study is essentially an analysis of contemporary thinking, forms and practices concerning women with disabilities in Africa generally and Tanzania in particular. It is essentially based on the primary data from the field ie. Kinondoni district, and it is very closely related to work being done by scholars involved in disability in gender perspective such as Ingstad and White (1995), Roylan (1991) and Mwalutambi (1995) who have dwelt on the failure of the third world communities to raise the status of women with disabilities socially, economically and politically. The dissertation is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is an introductory one. It comprises a background to the problem, statement of the problem, significance of the problem; objective of the study and its limitation. In the background to the problem, a historical background of the problem is presented. This includes factors related to education, law, politics, socio-cultural and economic aspects. In the statement of the problem it is clearly stated that women with disabilities have unique social and economic problems as opposed to ablebodied women and men with disabilities. The significance of the study hinges on the fact that first, the study is the first of its kind in the country; and that it will improve the social and economic condition of women with disabilities. It will also reveal important information related to people with disabilities especially women and will address the question of where we are going from here, as far as gender and disabilities are concerned. Due to limited resources in terms of money and time, this study was confined to a population of women with disabilities only in the informal sector in the Kinondoni district. The second chapter deals with literature review. This chapter takes an overview of information from different scholars and studies. It further elaborates on the background information as well as give some feminist view points. It finally pinpoints the shortcomings portrayed by various literatures. One of the shortcomings, for example is that some of the literature does not comprehensively explain how women with disabilities are included in various issues as fighting for heir rights and so on. The legal sphere also runs short of realism. The way people with disabilities are protected by the law has some ambiguities; this is due to unrealistic placement of members in the councils. People with disabilities are represented in lesser numbers than the able bodied persons. This means that, some important decisions are made by ablebodied persons who do not necessarily reflect the interests of the people with disabilities. Another aspect is that, like in many other issues, our laws and policies do not protect a woman with disabilities specifically. Besides the lack of implementation of those laws and policies leaves a lot to be desired. In the case of International legal instruments, most of them do not have a binding force in our country due to the fact that no measures are taken to ensure that our laws comply with the requirements." The literature review gave prominence to the social position of women with disabilities. Roylan (1991), explained how pathetic the situation is of a woman with disability living in the third world. Another argued that life is less bleak for women with disabilities in industrialized countries, where recent biochemical and technical developments offer remarkable new opportunities. Research methodology is presented in chapter three, In this chapter, various methods and techniques of data collection are presented. These cover the area of Kinondoni district. In this district, eleven areas were studied ie. Sinza, University of Dar es salaam, Kigogo, Mwananyamala, Kawe, Kunduchi, Kinondoni Binti Matola, Kimara, Magomeni Makanya and Kinondoni Moscow. Another aspect presented in this chapter is the population size. A population of twenty five (25) women with disabilities was expected but only twenty (20) were reached. This was 80 percent of the expected population. A combination of methods and tools for data collection was used. Thus questionnaire, documentary review and observation were employed. This section also deals with data presentation and analysis. The data obtained was analyzed both qualitatively (in form of non numerical information) and quantitatively (in numerical form ie. numbers and percentages, simple statistical tables, and coding. Chapter four presents and analyses the data. The information presented and analyzed is based on the objectives of the research and the hypotheses. The chapter begins by presenting various activities done by women with disabilities in the informal sector in Kinondoni district. Running of Kiosks, "Genge", food vending/"mama ntilie" and the like were some of the activities presented. Other information such as age, religion, marital status, are also presented. The discussion of the major findings is done in the light of the hypotheses. Summary, conclusion and recommendation are the components of chapter five. This chapter centres/focuses on the objectives, hypotheses and the findings. The hypotheses which are confirmed by the findings turn out to be research conclusions: In brief it is recommended that the government should implement international and national laws and policies. Modification of the existing policies towards people with disabilities and especially women with disabilities has to be modified / established to suit contemporary social and economic changes. Assisting devices and mobility aids for people with disabilities have to bear government consideration. Income tax on business and project undertaken by women with disabilities should be waved. Utilization of the country's resources should give priority to women with disabilities. It has been recommended that the government and the community at large have to identify abilities as opposed to disabilities of women with disabilities. The government and private sector have to give priority to women with disabilities in reference to employment. Education and changes should be made in the community so that all practices that humiliate people with disabilities are stopped. For women with disabilities it has been recommended that they have to refrain from inferiority complexes and fears, instead be courageous to prove their abilities to the society. Lastly, further studies are recommended on this area since this study covers only one district in the whole big country.
Available in print form
Economic problems, Social problems, nformal sector, Women, Kinondoni, Tanzania
Lumwe, M. (1996) Social and economic problems encountered by women with disabilities in the informal sector: a case study of Kinondoni District, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (